Any kind of sexual contact without
consent is a sexual assault – a criminal offence. Consent must be free,
voluntary and ongoing. Consent cannot be coerced. No always means no and only
yes, expressed by your words or actions, means yes. A person cannot rely on
your implied consent as a defence to sexual assault. Unless you agree to the
activity it is sexual assault.
Your lack of consent does not have to
be verbal. It may be expressed by words or your conduct. If you did not agree
to it, it is sexual assault, even if you did not fight back.
If you are not capable of giving
consent, perhaps because you are unconscious (sleeping or passed out), it is
sexual assault to engage in any sexual activity with you.
The law does not distinguish between
any kind of assault on spouses and partners or strangers. A spouse or partner
has no more of a right to sexually assault you than a stranger on the street.
It also a criminal offence for your
partner to share intimate images of you without your consent – even if you
agreed to have the intimate images taken in the first place.
Whenever possible and safe, having a plan to deal with an abusive relationship can help protect you and your family. If you are in immediate danger, call 911 or a 24/7 crisis line.